Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes ALP’s promise for national interest test for gas

Published: May 18, 2016

The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed today’s commitment by the ALP to introduce a national interest test for gas mining and export projects, urging the Coalition to match the policy and for all political parties to ensure Australia’s precious water resources are not squandered for reckless short term mining.

"This announcement is timely, coming a day after landholders and concerned community members visited more than 70 Federal electorate offices right across the country asking election candidates to protect water resources and communities from risky coal and unconventional gas mining,” said LTG spokesperson Phil Laird.

"What the ALP announcement is missing is an acknowledgement that along with the social and economic damage reckless gas mining and export can do, the unconventional gas industry poses huge strategic risks to Australia’s water resources.

"Nothing less than Australia's national water resources are at risk.

"This commitment is a step forward, but we need a suite of strong measures that are required to protect the national interest, starting with protection for water resources from mining, creation of a national EPA and legislation to back the National Food Plan.”

"The jobs and prosperity that agriculture, tourism, services and manufacturing can provide sustainably for Australia into the long term are at risk without decisive action.

"The rapid approval and construction of coal seam gas for three huge LNG export terminals in southern Queensland is not a mistake this country can afford to repeat.

"The environmental, economic, and social damage incurred from thoughtless actions of the Federal and state governments in approving risky and untested coal seam gas across vast areas of southern Queensland is still unfolding.

"After years of hands off policy and regulation, it’s good to see an acknowledgement of the systemic gas policy failures that have left farmers and landholders, our land and water and the economy vulnerable.

"Further expansion of unconventional gas fails any common sense national interest test. Our members welcome this policy announcement as gas basins, gas markets and environmental impacts span state boundaries.

"A national interest test that asks searching questions about the damage that the gas industry can and does inflict is very welcome, but it’s got to include water, or we'll be asking the wrong questions," he said. 

More information on Lock the Gate Water4life and a map showing that 37% of Australia is covered by coal and gas tenements can be found here.

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